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Number of Fast Track recipients at OTC doubles in less than a year

Ozarks Technical Community College
Kristina Bridges-Templeton
Ozarks Technical Community College

The program pays tuition and fees for eligible students in certain fields.

More people are taking advantage of the Missouri Fast Track program at Ozarks Technical Community College.

The number of Fast Track recipients at OTC more than doubled between spring and fall semesters last year.

Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grants cover the cost of tuition and fees for eligible nontraditional students pursuing certain programs like nursing, welding, diesel technology, cyber security, dental hygiene and more.

OTC spokesman Mark Miller said Fast Track, a state program started in 2019, is designed to train people at least 25-years-old for jobs in high demand career fields in Missouri.

"That's what it was designed to do, but it's just been slow to adopt among students in that age bracket," he said, "but we're seeing an uptick — plus, here at OTC, we've marketed it heavily."

Miller said the increase in students receiving money is likely due to a change in the program.

"There's a definite correlation from the change from making it a (forgivable) loan to making it a true, no-strings-attached grant," said Miller.

OTC offers more than 80 Fast Track eligible degrees, certificates and short-term training opportunities.

Miller said Fast Track is still extremely underutilized, and he urges businesses and potential students to find out more about the grant program.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.